Lacking Grace and All Sense of Balance

This one time, I fell in a rice paddy. The funny part is, I was sober when I did it.

After I moved to Nou-Machi, I was presented with an apartment and a bicycle. The bicycle was just barely the right size but I could get around on it. The biggest problem, at least at first, was that second gear didn’t work.

I drove it for a long time until second gear started causing the chain to slip and me to swear and me to spend time trying to fix it which caused me to swear some more.

Eventually, I took it to the town to be repaired. They didn’t repair it. Instead they gave me a new bike. Unfortunately, they didn’t bother actually measuring me to see what size bike I actually needed. Instead they ordered the Gargantua model which was too big for me. Despite that problem, I used the bike a lot but was never comfortable with its size.

Also, to understand how I ended up in a rice paddy, you also have to understand that 1) there was a rice paddy right next to my apartment; and 2) I lost a fair amount of weight while I was in Nou-machi. (Not as much as I’d lose in Albania, but that’s another story.) This made my jeans and shirts baggy.

Then, one day, for reasons I don’t remember, I was in a hurry. I rushed back to my apartment, rode my bicycle up to its parking place under the stairs and attempted a dismount (official level of difficulty: 2).

However, the crotch of my baggy jeans caught on the seat and and everything shifted toward me and I started to lose my balance.

An observer would have, well, observed a tall foreigner on Gargantua’s bicycle doing a slow “TIIIIMBEEEER” back into the rice paddy which, by the way, had meter high walls. Luckily for the tall foreigner, the rice was tall but not yet ready for harvest and that helped break his fall and make the situation less messy than it could have been.

I landed on my back and the bike landed on top of me. After a few moments I managed to extricate myself from the bike and then exit the rice paddy.

I ended up with gray clay mud all over my shoes, jeans and book bag. I left an impressive divot in the still growing rice, too. (To this day, I’d love to have seen the farmer’s reaction to that divot.)

In the aftermath, I had to run my shoes through the washing machine to make them even remotely useable.

I never did that again but, quite frankly, once was one time too many.

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